Welcome to Mumsnet!

We’re delighted you’ve found us. Join in the conversation on the UK's busiest site for parents

Get started »

The Missing by C L Taylor

This giveaway is sponsored by Avon, HarperCollins

Share this on Facebook

You love your family. They make you feel safe. You trust them. Or do you…?

When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire, blames herself. She's not the only one. There isn't a single member of Billy's family that doesn't feel guilty. But the Wilkinsons are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn't until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface.

Claire is sure of two things – that Billy is still alive, and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance. A mother's instinct is never wrong. Or is it?

Sometimes those closest to us are the ones with the most to hide.

From C L Taylor, the Sunday Times Top Five bestselling author of The Accident and The Lie, comes a highly anticipated new psychological thriller.

Meet the author: C L Taylor

What are you reading now?

I am currently reading a proof called The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena. It's about a couple who go for dinner with their neighbours next door. They take the baby monitor with them and check on their daughter every couple of hours. But when they return home, the baby is gone. It's a gripping read so far.

What is the last book you bought someone as a gift?

My partner is a huge science fiction fan and I bought him the hardback of The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu. It had won an award and the blurb on the back sounded like the sort of thing he'd enjoy. My partner is really enjoying it, which is great.

Is research a big part of your writing process?

It's a huge part of my writing process. I spend nearly as much time researching a book as I do writing it, as it's really important to me that all the factual details are accurate. When I wrote The Missing I spoke to an ex-Detective Inspector and a psychologist. I also read a lot of non-fiction books about missing children and online accounts of people who had suffered from dissociative amnesia. I also visited Weston-super-Mare and various locations in Bristol to ensure the settings in the book were spot-on.

Do you have any peculiar writing rituals or habits?

I can't write with cold feet so I keep a pair of ski socks under my desk to put on before I start writing. I also light a scented candle (rose-scented for The Missing) and listen to a soundtrack. I can't write to lyrics as I find the words too distracting so it has to be instrumental music. Film soundtracks work well. I wrote The Missing to the music of Max Richter and The Lie to the soundtrack of In Time. I played it on a loop.

What advice would you offer to aspiring writers?

Don't follow trends. Instead write about a theme that you feel strongly about. I really believe that's the secret of a successful book. I write about my fears - about abusive ex-boyfriends returning (The Accident), friends turning on each other (The Lie), and losing a child (The Missing).

Don't spend too much time writing and rewriting your first few chapters, keep writing until you reach the end. You may find that you have started the book in the wrong place and you need to cut your first few chapters.

All writers reach points in their books when they become convinced that it's awful and they should write something else instead. Typically these points are at 20,000, 40,000 and 60,000 words. Keep writing through your doubts. You can fix anything that isn't working in the rewrite.

Join a local or online writing group to get feedback on your book. Find a writing buddy or, if you can afford it, pay a freelance editor to look it over. Then, when it's as good as you can get it, buy a copy of The Writers and Artists' Yearbook and look through all the literary agent listings. Only approach the ones that represent your genre (it helps to look at their list of authors). Send them a covering letter, synopsis and the first three chapters (or whatever they ask for).

Can you tell us about The Missing?

If you love TV programmes like Broadchurch, or family dramas with a dark mystery at the heart, you should love The Missing. It's about an ordinary woman called Claire Wilkinson who is doing her best to hold her family together. When her fifteen-year-old son Billy disappears in the night, Claire is convinced that he is alive, and she refuses to believe that any of her friends or family had anything to do with his disappearance. But when a television appeal goes wrong, the stress becomes too much for Claire and she starts suffering from terrifying blackouts. Someone has been lying to Claire about their relationship with Billy... but who?


About the Author

C L Taylor lives in Bristol with her partner and son. She started writing fiction in 2005. Her short stories have won several awards, and have been published by a variety of literary and women’s magazines. Taylor's 2014 debut novel, The Accident, sold over 150,000 copies, making it one of The Bookseller’s top ten bestselling adult debut fiction titles for the year. She has sold over half a million copies in total to date.

Also by C L Taylor:

Book giveaway

We gave away 50 copies of The Missing to give away to Mumsnetters to read and share their thoughts about it on the discussion thread.

Liked this? Try these:

Learn Mandarin: Chineasy Everyday


Win The Turning Point + a couple's experience

April Book of the Month: Noonday by Pat Barker

Last updated: almost 2 years ago